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One challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban to proceed as class-action

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Virginia. Attribution: Wikipedia
Virginia. Attribution: Wikipedia
The challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU, Harris v. Rainey (formerly Harris v. McDonnell), will be allowed to proceed as a class-action. The federal judge hearing the case granted class certification late last week:

U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski ruled in a lawsuit brought last summer by two couples against the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

By granting class action, the plaintiffs in the Harrisonburg case will be representing all same-sex couples who want to get married and those who have already been married in other jurisdictions.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs estimate there are more than 15,000 same-sex households in Virginia.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a notice in the Harris case telling the court he believes Virginia’s ban is unconstitutional and declining to defend it.

Another challenge to Virginia’s law, Bostic v. Rainey, is being litigated by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and its attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies. There is a hearing in federal court tomorrow in that case. The class definition in the Harris case specifically excludes the Bostic plaintiffs, so that both cases will be able to proceed.

The opinion granting class certification is here. The judge is also ordering the parties to agree to a date for a status conference in the case.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

For more information on Harris v. Rainey (formerly Harris v. McDonnell)from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. Dr. Z  |  February 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Just heard that the 10th Circuit denied Roberta Kaplan's request to join the Utah case – can anyone confirm?

  • 2. RAJ  |  February 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Update at 2:15 p.m. Feb. 3: The 10th Circuit denied Kaplan’s request to intervene or participate in oral argument:

  • 3. Dr. Z  |  February 4, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Looks like the Utah case has really accelerated the timeline for reaching SCOTUS, and there's an increasing amount of maneuvering going on behind the scenes.

  • 4. Rick O.  |  February 4, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Wow – big ego, big money lawyers smell success. Not so long ago "gay rights attorney" meant cheap suits, $10 haircuts, and a vow of eternal poverty. Personally, I think the Utah case was argued pretty damn well in Salt Lake by the local team, and I seem to recall Olsen & Boies achieved far less at the Supreme Court with Hollingsworth than they were advertising just weeks before.

  • 5. Dr. Z  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:02 am

    I was very impressed with the quality of legal representation by the Utah team. No need to detract from what Olsen and Boies have accomplished (at a time when most major gay rights organizations were afraid to go to SCOTUS), but the whole standing issue in the Prop 8 case only reinforces the risks of putting all your eggs in one basket.

  • 6. RAJ  |  February 4, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Fascinating — I feel torn between understanding the importance of a superstar legal team vs. routing for the "lean and trim" underdog legal team that produced this bolt-from-the-blue development out of Utah.

    … and speaking of Utah, the Schaerr & Co. opening brief was due yesterday, Feb. 3rd. Anyone had a look at it yet? I've been unable to track it down.

  • 7. RAJ  |  February 4, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Ok, just found a link — I'm going to dive in:

  • 8. RAJ  |  February 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Regnerus' name appears 7 times in the brief.

  • 9. StraightDave  |  February 4, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Oh goody!!!!
    But isn't the appeal supposed to only concern legal issues, not facts or new evidence (or lack thereof)? This feels more like an attempt to muddy the water. I expect it to get smacked down hard in response.

  • 10. RAJ  |  February 4, 2014 at 8:01 am

    They want same-sex couples to seek rights and responsibilities through "private contracts" and that feel that is sufficient:

    "(2) Nothing in Subsection (1) impairs any contract or other rights, benefits, or duties that are enforceable independently of this section.

    Utah Code § 30-1-4.1. The statute makes plain two purposes: (1) to codify Utah’s existing definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, and (2) to protect the rights of any couple, including same-sex partners, to continue to govern their relationships through enforceable private contracts."


    The brief works HARD to show how fair they can be to same-sex couples. But — YUK, so far!

  • 11. Rick O.  |  February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

    The contract defense thing was big and new with the conservatives 2-3 years ago, when my state rep blindsided me with it during a gay lobby day. I have been thinking (burning) over it ever since, all the way to finally getting married in VT to accomplish the 100+ things I finally thought of I could NOT accomplish with lawyers. Problem one – government is not about to sign any contracts with me, and neither is the religious right.

  • 12. davep  |  February 4, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I'd love to hear their explanation for how a private contract between two individuals can make the government provide the state and federal benefits and protections of legal, civil marriage. Idiots.

  • 13. Zack12  |  February 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

    They can't… and in many cases it didn't even provide state benefits.
    Also should be noted none of those things are cheap, many couples simply can't afford the $$$ it costs to get those kinds of contracts.

  • 14. Matthew N  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Exactly.. Show me what contract I can sign to allow my husband to immigrate as a spouse.. Doesn't exist…

  • 15. StraightDave  |  February 4, 2014 at 8:02 am

    All they've got is Regnerus, Baker, and……get this…… "reduce the potential for civic strife". In other words, some people might be very pissed off so we shouldn't do this.

    Later, "…all to the detriment to both marriage and the State's interests in social peace".

    Holy crap!! Does this sound like 1965 Alabama all over again?

  • 16. RAJ  |  February 4, 2014 at 8:08 am

    It has echoes of the military ban, doesn't it?

    It's not that gays aren't competent to serve, it's that it will SO upset those around them, that they should not be allowed to serve — openly, that is.

  • 17. sfbob  |  February 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I can't seem to get myself to read past the table of contents. Even there there's plenty to be irked by, beginning with the insistence that Baker is still controlling and going on to the "fundamental due-process right to marry someone of the same sex." Someone should have clued these guys in on Loving vs Virginia. They have (probably intentionally) framed the debate incorrectly as having to do with a right to "same-sex marriage" when the correct frame is the right to marry the person one chooses to marry.

  • 18. StraightDave  |  February 4, 2014 at 8:06 am

    "spawning deep tensions between civil and religious understandings of that institution"

    In other words, we should avoid that by making sure that the civil understanding mirrors the religious understanding.
    Seriously, guys?!?!?

    I guess that's what you should expect from a Mormon lawyer. OMG

    I really have to do some work now and save the rest for this eve. Happy reading , folks.

  • 19. sfbob  |  February 4, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Has anyone noticed the typo in their table of contents? "History of the Man-Woman 'Definintion' (sic)". I'm sure that will impress the court. Don't the folks at Schaerr & Co have a spell-checker? Or doesn't that function work on golden tablets?

  • 20. bythesea  |  February 4, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I hear golden tablets are also incompatible with Flash Player.

  • 21. Deeelaaach  |  February 6, 2014 at 12:51 am

    I guess when they think of the First Amendment they think only of our rights to spout whatever crap we want to. Forget the part about separation of church and state.

  • 22. sfbob  |  February 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

    That first paragraph is perhaps the most whiny piece of legal argumentation I've ever read! "Abandoning the man-woman definition of marriage!!!" "Moms and dads are not interchangeable!!!!" "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!""

    1. Nobody's "abandoning" anything. The majority of marriages will continue to be of the man-woman flavor.
    2. We gave up gender-based roles in marriage several decades ago. Are there no working mothers in Utah? Also: the 19th Amendment. End of coverture. Stay-at-home dads.
    3. Won't someone think of the children of gay and lesbian parents for a change?

  • 23. RAJ  |  February 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

    The brief refers to the state's main concern –the broad concern– as being about children, child-rearing, optimal environments, and so forth. But very technically speaking, since Utah's marriage law itself, requires a certification of infertility from certain couples (first cousins, I believe), before granting them a license, the "child-centered" premise is suspect.

    This refutes the assertion that marriage in Utah is ONLY about children. if it's not ONLY about children, what else must it be about, and why can't same-sex couples participate under that understanding. Plus, some same-sex couples DO have children!

  • 24. Carol  |  February 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    "Plus, some same-sex couples DO have children!" Even in 10th Circuit states! That's what appellants and their side keep having to ignore, which tangles them in logical inconsistencies that one day even they will have to recognize.

  • 25. StraightDave  |  February 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Good hetero parents and bad hetero parents are not interchangeable!!!

    We must make sure that children only have good parents. And if any bad parents manage to sneak in from another state, we will ignore them, helping to insure that those already-bad parents are burdened even further, causing those poor children to suffer even more. Then all future newborn children will realize they need to pick better parents.

    Is that how this is supposed to work?

  • 26. Deeelaaach  |  February 6, 2014 at 12:55 am

    How did the end of coverture affect children? That was a change in marriage law. Oh, that's right, the end of coverture – a change in "traditional marriage – didn't affect children at all. Just as ME won't affect children either since the two are entirely unrelated. But I guess our opponents think as many do – if they say it out loud enough times, it must be true – or maybe it will become true?

  • 27. StraightDave  |  February 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Oh this thing is a hoot.

    "…rationally advances the State’s interests in …. adequate procreation"

    I wasn't aware that UT was in any danger of running out of children, unless Mormons have some sort of quota system to keep the funding levels up.

  • 28. grod  |  February 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    RAF and Dr. Z, While the legal team for Kitchen may have quality, it may also benefit from experience. Schaerr & Co brief is indeed a fascinating and easy – if not unsettling read. But not a lawyer it is impossible to evaluate the power of Utah's position. Those drafting the reply brief to Schaerr have their work cut out. In the 11 AGs amicus brief in Sevcik v Sandovalalso said to be controlling. Yet At page 31 Judge T. Kean in Bishop & Barton say it is not.
    In contrast, Ohio's Judge T Black does not need to concern himself with Baker because his case was about state recognition of valid marriages.

  • 29. grod  |  February 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Sorry: correction The 11 AGs amicus brief in Sevcik v Sandovalalso said Baker is controlling……

  • 30. Pat  |  February 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Pardon this foreigner's ignorance: can someone explain what is the difference between the two VA cases? What is the purpose of having 2 parallel lawsuits seeking the same goals? (I guess they both seek the same goals, i.e. marriage equality in the state).
    Is the idea that 2 cases might speed things up (since if either case gets a favorable outcome, then it makes the second case moot)? This seems a bit redundant to a non legal expert.

  • 31. ebohlman  |  February 4, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Virginia has two separate Federal court districts. District court rulings are normally binding only in the district in which they're issued, so a victory in one district wouldn't automatically apply statewide.

    The two cases are in different districts.

  • 32. Pat  |  February 4, 2014 at 4:41 am

    I see. But isnt it the same in California? I never heard that Judge Walker's ruling on Prop 8 could possibly only apply to his district. What was different there?

    And is it actually really possible that marriage equality comes to only half of a state?

  • 33. Deeelaaach  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Pat, I don't have an answer for you, but I see there is no reply so I'm going to take a crack at it. Please note that I am not a lawyer so take what I say with a grain of salt until we can get a real lawyer or someone with an iota of knowledge about such things. Walker's decision reflects an actual ruling at the lowest kind of court, the circuit court, in the federal system. The two cases proceeding now in VA have not come to any determination or ruling yet.

    I think that so long as they may have a legitimate case as opposed to a frivolous case, plaintiffs can carry a lawsuit forward as far as they can afford to and are willing to pursue it. This would likely change as they go higher in the system.

    I guess what I'm saying is that in a sense, the district courts are like the circuit courts – people can file separate lawsuits in federal district courts within circuit as well as well as in other district courts in other circuits. Meaning that at some point we can have separate cases proceeding at the circuit level at the same time. I hope what I've said makes sense.

    Perhaps when a ruling is arrived at by one court, the other court could cite the ruling in their ruling, or perhaps depending on the particulars of the case, it could moot the case altogether? We won't know what will happen in the VA cases until a ruling is reached at all in one court. Then perhaps a situation like the Walker ruling in CA could come into play.

    Now if I'm saying something that is not correct, will someone who knows better please correct me? Thanks!

  • 34. Dr. Z  |  February 4, 2014 at 7:41 am

    My guess is that Olsen and Boies considered bringing a class action suit but ultimately decided against it due to the different rules that come into play – it would slow their case down in what has become a race to reach SCOTUS. Certifying a class action takes time. Instead, O+B pursued the same strategy as in Perry (as Hollingsworth was called then) by suing select state officials who, taken collectively, will enjoin the state gov't from enforcing DOMA if we win. However, this strategy is risky as we saw in the aftermath of the SCOTUS decision in Hollingsworth. There was uncertainty as to whether it would work, and I recall during the oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit that the judges were dubious of this O+B approach – it's kind of a hat trick and there's no guarantee it would work. Hense the second lawsuit.

  • 35. mtnbill  |  February 4, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Technically, I think Walker's decision applied to his district only, but since the defendants were the Governor and AG any ruling would affect statewide policies. Otherwise, you would have the Gov and AG enforcing one set of practices in one part of the state and another set of policies in the rest of the state. In this case, the result would be very contradictory and confusing. The State of California would be saying you can get married in Alameda county but not in Imperial. Marriage rules are done at the state level in California, and the clerks are mere administrators of state law and policy. In other states, county clerks may have different responsibilities.

    There was some discussion about this fact when the prop 8 cases were being heard because not all county clerks had been part of the law suit. There was even a question to David Boies at the appeal hearing on this issue. I don't think he gave a good verbal answer, but that is history now.

  • 36. Bruno71  |  February 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    In retrospect I'm surprised how much they limited the suit in terms of class action status and the number of clerks who were defendants. There must've been some good reason for that.

  • 37. sfbob  |  February 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

    That sounds about right. Walker's ruling is a controlling decision only California but the content of his decision can be cited in other cases where it's pertinent to the discussion.

  • 38. grod  |  February 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Demands No Explanation :- F U – Eleven AGs provide Nevada's AG with an up-to date framework reply: Nelson controls.… Try this dismissive line of reasoning on for comfort? "the traditional definition of marriage is not an exclusionary concept, except in the broadest, most meaningless sense. It is an offer of recognition to opposite-sex couples based on their particular characteristics. Not making the same offer to other groups is not “exclusion” that demands explanation. pg 42

  • 39. grod  |  February 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    AND by the way, AGs brief asserts that neither SmithKline Beecham nor Windsor is instructive!

  • 40. sfbob  |  February 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    That's some pretty impressive ignorance going on there.

  • 41. Zack12  |  February 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    You should see the Colorado's AG letter in the Washington Post.
    He states in the article that there ARE cases where an AG can refuse to defend a law but the marriage bans shouldn't be among them.

  • 42. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I'm not sure who is crazier – the Colorado AG or the commenters 'defending' him and/or calling for Herring's impeachment for not following state law.

  • 43. Zack12  |  February 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    The AG. It really is amazing how he contradicts himself in this article.

  • 44. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    He is crazy, but those who are commenting without knowledge of what they are discussing (and sometimes the 'facts' they are throwing out are the opposite of the facts) are just as crazy, if not more so.

    That is why I stated I don't know who is crazier. On a scale of 1 (most crazy) to 100 (most sane), they all (the Colorado AG and those commenters defending him) score at the very bottom of the scale (a 1 or 2, IMO).

  • 45. Rick O.  |  February 3, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Wow – the Denver Post is just about dead as a paper, they did not have CO AG Suther's letter or news about it today. Just football, as usual in cowtown. As I mentioned elsewhere, I had contacted his office 2 weeks ago, and at that time he was keeping it a secret he was going to weigh in. FYI – Suthers is R, retiring, and will probably be replaced by a D. CO R's are dwindling, and also increasingly a wholly owned subsidiariary of Focus on the Family (James Dobson) in CO Springs, as well as gun nuts. I'm sure he won't defend gun purchase background checks.

  • 46. Zack12  |  February 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I agree Colorado Republicans are dwindling but as shown by the gun recalls,they do still have power and there are still plenty of them in the state.
    If people don't show up to vote this fall,it will be a repeat of 2010 in some areas,including Colorado.

  • 47. Rick O.  |  February 4, 2014 at 5:48 am

    True, and the reason the petition/referendum drive to reverse SSM ban has been squashed for 2014 and scheduled for 2016. R's too extreme to capture state-wide offices this year, but they very well may recapture the Senate over gun control, in which case lots of "religious freedom" bills will appear.

  • 48. Steve  |  February 4, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Here we again have the problem with making AG a highly political, desirable and elected office. It's usually a stepping stone for higher offices, so it attracts a lot of sleazy politicians instead of good lawyers who defend everyone's interests instead of just their political ambitions. The exceptions are rare.

  • 49. Dr. Z  |  February 4, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Chris Christie is a case in point – as a DA he brought a series of prosecutions against politicians for abuse of power. How fitting that he should be facing loss of his office and possible jail time for doing the exact same thing.

  • 50. Eric Koszyk  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:42 am

    On the other hand we are seeing some Democratic AG's who are now refusing to defend their state bans in courts, and even one, the AG of VA, who has switched sides and is now arguing against the VA state ban.

    Partly he is doing it because it is the right thing to do legally. But I'm sure politics might might also be coming into play since it is increasingly becoming good politics to be on the side of marriage equality, especially for future Democratic primaries.

  • 51. Deeelaaach  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:12 am

    But of course, traditional marriage is an "inclusionary" concept, just not an exclusionary one.

    Sorry for inventing words. But I'm not sure how you can include certain people within a group without excluding others. I suppose people will find a way to rationalize anything they want to.

  • 52. sfbob  |  February 4, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Well every word is invented until it becomes common usage. No need to apologize there. Actually "inclusionary" is a word already; it has uses in the world of housing. This is off-topic I know but in San Francisco where I live, when new market-rate housing project is built, the developer has to set aside either a certain number of units in that project or money for the same number of units to be built elsewhere that are affordable at a certain income level. That's referred to in the city statutes as "inclusionary housing." So you see, government has beaten you to the punch.

  • 53. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    And many 'common words' began as an attempt to not swear.

    How many times have you heard someone who doesn't swear say 'Jeebus', or 'Holy cripes', or 'fudge', or 'frigged', etc.? It usually doesn't take much imagination to figure out what they are REALLY saying.

    Even the term 'SNAFU' is used by many, but not all who use it know what it means (Situation Normal, All eFed Up).

  • 54. Deeelaaach  |  February 6, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Sfbob, I think I wondered about the word because of constant extreme fatigue that fogs my thinking and keeps me housebound most of any week – that and the spellchecker on my browser flagged "inclusionary" as not being a word. But then again it flags a number of actual words as not words too.

  • 55. grod  |  February 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Change topics: Get up to speed on Sevcik v Sandoval:
    It had been agreed in the schedule of filing that 14 days after the Nevada AG and the Coalition filed their brief, Lambda Legal could file a reply. By my count that is tomorrow!. Or was the Nevada AG and Gov waiting for the near dozen AGs' amicus brief to be her beacon. If Sevcik files tomorrow as agreed, would that pre-empt Nevada filing any other briefs And would a court date be now set?. The site list 13 amicus briefs, including the 11 AGs brief but not the 15 AG pro-brief filed last fall:…. Which briefs would you give an A and which amicus a F

  • 56. Rose  |  February 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Do these idiots NOT get it that Baker vs Nelson is a moot case because Minnesota DOES allow Same-Sex couples to legally marry?

    They OBVIOUSLY can't understand that Baker vs Nelson had NO precedent over the rest of the Country and DOESN'T need to be overturned because it is NO longer validated……just started reading the brief!!!

  • 57. Deeelaaach  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Baker is part of the legal landscape of 1972. Laws have changed significantly since then on both the state and federal levels. Like this obscure federal law no one ever heard of that was passed in 1996 – you know the one – DOMA I think it is called. I know few on this site have heard of it – it's a federal marriage law.

    So the federal landscape after Baker changed in part due to DOMA. They anti-gays were so afraid of us they passed a law to hurt us in the short run but helped us in the long run. Funny how that happens. Just my opinion.

    <trying to stop laughing – laughing will set my asthma off>

  • 58. Deeelaaach  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Rose, sorry for replying to the wrong person. I just realized that I didn't think before I posted.

  • 59. Rose  |  February 4, 2014 at 8:22 am

    No worries…… is funny how they continue to mention Baker as having some importance when in fact it NEVER was anything at all!!

  • 60. Rose  |  February 3, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Again EITHER marriage is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT for ALL regardless of the gender make-up or it is a "SPECIAL RIGHT" just for those individuals who opt to marry someone of the opposite-sex…….I'm just NOT sure the arguments I've read so far are going to fly on appeal!!!

  • 61. grod  |  February 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Rose Consider Ohio's Judge T Blacks footnote 6's observation: See also Wilson v. Ake
    354 F. Supp. 2d 1298, 1306-07 (M.D. Fla. 2005) (“No federal court has recognized that [due process] . . . includes the right to marry a person of the same sex”) (internal citation omitted); Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571, 628 (Md. App. 2007) (“[V]irtually every court to have considered the issue has held that same-sex marriage is not constitutionally protected as fundamental in either their state or the Nation as a whole”); Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1, 9 (N.Y. 2006) (“The right to marry is unquestionably a fundamental right . . . The right to marry someone of the same sex, however, is not “deeply rooted,” it has not even been asserted until relatively recent times”). But see Kitchen v. Herbert
    , 2:13-CV-00217 (D. Utah Dec. 20, 2013).

  • 62. Mahnahvu  |  February 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    The law firm for the LDS church has put together a brief representing several faith groups for the Sevcik v Sandoval case:

    The crux of the argument made in this brief (aside from their falling over themselves to deny animus) is a fear-based, slippery slope hypothesis that if same-sex couples are issued civil marriage licenses, over time the public will come to view marriage as being about adult concerns and not the welfare of children. They provide no evidence to support this premise.

  • 63. bayareajohn  |  February 4, 2014 at 12:05 am

    That slope has been greased up for years. I guess they haven't been to Vegas, sat in a divorce court, heard about celebrity 30-day marriages, or watched "The Bachelor". Yeah, compared to that, SSM is certainly the straw to break the back of the public image of marriage. Not.

  • 64. Rose  |  February 4, 2014 at 4:15 am

    Interesting opening brief seeing as our Country is NOT a Theocracy and one's religious beliefs regarding marriage is IRRELEVANT as we are fighting for Civil Marriage not Religious Marriage and if these Churches want to stick their noses in this fight, then their tax-exempt status should be removed in my opinion!!!

    By the way, the divorce rates for those of religious backgrounds is astronomical…….maybe these religious organizations should spend more time helping these couples work out their problems instead of trying to deny others the right to marry!

  • 65. Deeelaaach  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:52 am

    I'm one of their number with a religious background who has been divorced. I found out much later that my ex who was brand new to my religion was encouraged by the church hierarchy to marry me – the thinking was that straight marriage would fix me. So far as I know this was an unwritten policy for decades in my church, a policy I'm sure has resulted in thousands if not tens of thousands of broken homes, all of which are primarily blamed on the LGBT family member, just as I am the one blamed for the break up of my marriage.

    And I was the sap who thought that love had saved me from my female identity. Of course there were other reasons I won't go into as this is neither the place nor the time. Neither straight marriage nor my attempts to pray away the gay helped me. Now I have a broken marriage with children involved and it is far worse for them than it is for me or my ex.

    There were religious and unrealistic expectations in my case for sure. So I think the divorce rate could have something to do with religious – and unrealistic – expectations of marriage and/or your spouse, and you don't even have to be LGBT or have an LGBT spouse to have these expectations.

  • 66. KRS  |  February 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

    There are thousands or perhaps millions of gay Americans who married persons
    of the opposite sex (the "traditional" kind), usually as a way to avoid
    discrimination, societal disapproval, employment jeopardy or just plain peer
    pressure. Many of them have had children which they love dearly and most of
    them love their spouses too, but were never in a relationship that was
    properly suited to their orientation. It is a virtual certainty that everyone
    who knows more than about 25 people knows at least one of these folks…if
    you disapprove, you won't know who they are because THEY know you disapprove
    and don't tell you.

    I've personally discovered half a dozen of my oldest friends from 1960s high school fall in this very category…there are probably that many more out there.

    Also, virtually every extended family of more than a couple dozen or so has
    gay members. That has been a fact for most of human history. Every day, as
    the irrational stigma evaporates, people learn that a dear friend, a trusted
    colleague, a respected acquaintance or a family member is one of "them". And
    that is what drives the ongoing extinction of nonsensical stereotypes and
    ugly prejudice. It is a one way street and won't be changing…for a very
    very long time if ever. Bigots and haters might as well accept progress,
    otherwise they will end up like their miserable ancestors who died without
    ever acknowledging the variety of life we actually have or knowing the joy of
    celebrating it.

  • 67. Deeelaaach  |  February 6, 2014 at 1:12 am

    In my extended family I am one of six – gay = three, lesbian = two, trans = one (me). These are the family members I know of, and my extended family is not small (LDS upbringing on both sides of the family). So there could be more family members and I wouldn't know it. LGBT members seem to run in families, but they aren't genetic? Or maybe we haven't discovered that particular gene, though science has discovered three that I know of – well, the study called them gay genes anyway… I don't know if further research has been conducted to confirm or deny this.

  • 68. Rose  |  February 4, 2014 at 4:17 am

    And besides, NO ONE is eliminating ANY right for opposite-sex couples to continue to marry nor preventing these couples from have children or affecting their right not to have children!

  • 69. Eric Koszyk  |  February 4, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Yesterday the Virginia House, with a Republican super majority, voted to allow itself to defend the state's same sex marriage ban in court, since the state's Attorney General has refused.

    The bill will probably die in the Democratic controlled State Senate, but if it gets to the governor's desk he will surely veto it.

  • 70. Eric Koszyk  |  February 4, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Washington Post article on the two court cases in VA:

  • 71. Zack12  |  February 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    As Ginsburg pointed out in Windsor, a case from 1972 where not a single state allowed gay marriage and most had virtually no protections for LGBT people being cited as being in play today is a joke.

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